2012 07/03

The “Left-over” Mom

Motherhood: It’s a pretty guilt ridden time in your life. Am I doing this right? Should I be doing more?

My biggest guilt is giving my kids what I call the “Left-over” Mom.

This is a general look at how the 24 hours of my day is split up:

That blue sliver up there labeled “Free Time”, that constitutes about 5 hours of my day. That is the time left after doing all of the other necessities in the house but my kids are still awake. Mind you, that time is sometimes increased as my “cleaning” time often overlaps on my “post-kid bedtime” and my “sleep” sometimes decreases.

The scary thing is that I have a lot to cram into that 5 hours.

  • Take care of my contracted work tasks
  • Respond to important emails & phone calls
  • Pay bills for personal and company
  • Grocery shop/run errands
  • Write blog posts
  • Spend time with the kids

Confession….those tasks above are pretty much in order of priority. It’s like being kicked in the gut when I realize that my kids are taking bottom rung on that list. Ugh.

But that’s how it goes each day. I spend the bulk of my time and energy on all the “other” tasks of the day. Then, if there is time and energy left over, that goes to my kids.

My kids are getting the “Left-Overs” of me. And let’s be honest, who really likes left-overs? Sure, they’re ok every now and again but not all the time.

So if I don’t like eating left-overs all the time, why do I think it’s ok to give “left-overs” to my kids? Why is it that I’m not giving them the best of me?

I think it is partially because I feel validation when I’m doing the other tasks. Like I’m completely something. I’m doing something important. I don’t always get that feeling when I’m playing with the kids.

I need a big “kick in the butt” dose of reality. In five years, what will my kids remember — my really great blog post or laughing ridiculously hard because we tried to fly a kite on an absurdly windy day?

This doesn’t mean that I need to stop doing all those other tasks. My work time is important. And as a speaker at Blissdom said, “I’m a grown-up. I’m allowed to work.” It’s ok to take time away from the kids to do some work. It’s ok to let them watch a movie in the middle of the day or to be plugging away at my computer while they do some coloring next to me. It’s a matter of balance. I just need to figure out how to achieve that balance.

The catch is that I’m always making myself feel guilty for working. After all, I signed up to be a stay at home mom. Is it fair that I want to do both?

How do you balance out your day? How do you keep yourself from feeling guilty about wanting to work while you’re home with your kids?

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  • Thank you Stacey, THANK. YOU!

    As a weekend working mom, 4 days a week I try to cram everything in there that makes my kids (and myself!) content and happy. It’s nice to be reminded (or even outright told) that YES I can plug away at whatever I want to get done while the kiddos play along with me.

    Balance – I try to keep myself available to my youngest (nearly 3) while her older sister (9) is at school. Then, when they are both home, the oldest likes to play with her sister while I accomplish anything from cleaning to making phone calls. She’s a great big helper!

  • You are so welcome, Crystal. Your 9yo sounds amazing! I love that she wants to play with her little sister and that allows you get a little extra done. My girls are really good about playing together while the baby naps. My big struggle is whether I use that time when the baby naps to get things done or to spend extra time with the girls.

    Ah! Someday we’ll get this whole parenting thing figured out :)

  • P. Connie Phothisan via Facebook

    I think ANY WAHM can relate. I know it’s the case with me. :) However, I don’t know life any other way other than busy and overflowing-super sure you can relate. I’m making it a priority to make more memories with the kiddos this year. We need to schedule a park play date, for the kids and of course, for US! Miss you girl.

  • Yes! As soon as you’re feeling up to it! Hope you’re able to get some rest this weekend!!

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